Football leagues start on Sunday

The opening round of the football league competitions, at senior, senior reserve and under-17 level are scheduled to start this Sunday (March 5th). It is certainly with more than a hint of optimism that  all three competitions are to get under way at such an early date with a big programme and much will depend on the weather for completion.

Sunday 5th March

Division One (2.00pm)

St Mary’s Ahoghill v St Brigid’s

St Mary’s Ahoghill are the eternal survivors in the top grade and the Clooney men begin another campaign with a home game.

Former player Chris McGlone is in charge this year and he will look to get his charges off to a good start in 2023 as they welcome St Brigid’s to Clooney and although the South Belfast side will start as favourites the points may well remain at home.

Kickham’s Creggan v O’ Donovan Rossa

Creggan welcome Rossa to the Staffordstown Road for a fixture that ended in a draw last year and they will be wary of the Shaw’s Road side.

Gerard Mc Nulty’s charges claimed the Division One league title last year and they will hope to start on a winning note here.

Hugh Mc Gettigan retains the management role at the Shaw’s Road side and his charges are more than capable of putting it up to the Kickham’s men but a home win does look probable.

St Gall’s v Casement’s Portglenone

John Mc Keever’s Casement’s came close to honours last term both in championship and league and the Bannsiders are likely to be challengers again this year as they travel to Belfast to meet St Gall’s.

The Milltown men have slowly rebuilt over recent years as Paddy Mc Shane looks to lead the Blues back to previous glory.

The home side will hope to get off to a winning start in this one but the South West side have a good recent record at Millfield and they may well claim the points.

St Ergnat’s Moneyglass v St Mary’s Aghagallon

Moneyglass were quick into their stride last term and the positive getaway proved a step forward to the league title.

The Marian Hill men stood tall throughout the league and were suitably rewarded with the division two league title and the greater prize of promotion.

Hugh Carey led St. Ergnat’s to success last season and he will be looking for a good start here as last year’s beaten senior championship finalists Aghagallon visit.

This looks a close one to call with ground advantage possible aiding the Moneyglass men to an opening victory.

Lamh Dhearg v St John’s

This all city clash sees Lamh Dhearg play hosts to the Johnnies at Hannahstown in a fixture that is always keenly contested.

This one may well follow in similar mode and although little may separate them at conclusion ground advantage may well prove the difference with a narrow win for the home side possible.

Tir na nOg v Erin’s Own Cargin

After a good start last term in the league Tir na nOg had to battle hard to retain their division 1 status but survival in their first year in the premier division will have been seen as success.

The Whitehill side face a stern test for their 2023 opener as they play hosts to the reigning county champions Cargin.

Ronan Devlin’s charges have a strong youth based panel at their disposal and they may well open account with a win at Whitehill.

Division Two (2.00pm)

Patrick Sarsfield’s v Michael Davitt’s

This all city clash sees the Paddies play hosts to Davitt’s as the falls road side visit the ‘Bear Pit’ for what may well be a close, hard fought affair.

Both sides had good campaigns in 2022 with Sarsfields reaching the under-20 B decider last term and they may well open account with a couple of early points.

Con Magee’s Glenravel v All Saint’s Ballymena

Con Magee’s defeated All Saints in last year’s Intermediate championship and recorded a league win over the Ballymena men at Sunday’s venue. Glenravel had a good 2022 campaign and will hope to make a winning start to 2023 against an All Saints side with a long injury list.

St James Aldergrove v St Paul’s

St. James faded after a good start last year but the Aldergrove men are capable of better with a new manager installed at the Crumlin venue.

St Paul’s have slipped down the rating somewhat in recent years but they have been strong at Juvenile level in the past few years and will hope to challenge for honours in 2023.

Another close game in prospect in this one but ground advantage may well aid a home win.

St Patrick’s Lisburn v Gort na Mona

St Patrick’s Lisburn had a good 2022 season and step up to division 2 for 2023.

The former division three side will look for a good start to their division 2 campaign but this looks a tough assignment as they welcome former division one side Gort na Mona.

Despite a good finish to their division one programme last term the Enright Park men lost their division 1 status but they may well open their second division account with a couple of early points in Lisburn.

St Joseph’s Glenavy v Cuchullian’s Dunloy

Glenavy struggled for much of the 2022 season and in the event the Chapel Hill side had to dig deep to maintain status.

Dunloy Cuchullian’s enjoyed an excellent 2022 season and an Intermediate title, to complement another senior hurling crown, was due reward and they may well open their account this term with an away win.

Division Three (2.00pm)

Wolfe Tones v St Agnes

North Belfast based Wolfe Tones were delighted to announce the appointment of Tony Curran as their senior manager for 2023 and the new man at the helm can lead his charges to an opening day win in this one against St. Agnes.

St Malachy’s v Eire Og

The men from the Markets enjoyed a good 2023 season and they may well continue on the positive this term.

Eire Og will travel with intent but the Mal’s can open with a win…

St Mary’s Rasharkin v Laochra Loch Lao

Rasharkin endured a poor enough 2022 season but the Dreen side can open this term on the positive with a win over the visiting Laochra Loch Lao possible.

St Comgall’s Antrim v Patrick Pearses

This looks a close one as Junior champions Pearses visit Naomh Comhghall and the North Belfast side will be hard pressed to gain a win over the Antrim side.

Cardinal 0’ Donnell’s v Mc Quillan’s Ballycastle

O’ Donnell’s are more than capable, if erratic at times but should start their 2023 campaign with a win over the visiting Ballycastle.

Senior Reserve (all games 3.45pm)

Division One

Tir na nOg v Erin’s Own Cargin

St Gall’s v Casement’s Portglenone

Lamh Dhearg v St John’s

Kickham’s Creggan v O’ Donovan Rossa

Division Two

Con Magee’s Glenravel v St Paul’s

Erin’s Own Cargin (B) St Mary’s Rasharkin

Kickham’s Ardoyne v St Joseph’s Glenavy

Patrick Pearses v Michael Davitt’s

St Ergnat’s Moneyglass v St Mary’s Ahoghill

Under-17 Football leagues (all games 12.00 noon)

Division One

Erin’s Own Cargin v Con Magee’s Glenravel

St Paul’s v St Mary’s Aghagallon

St Gall’s v Brigid’s

Kickham’s Creggan v Cuchullian’s Dunloy

Division Two

All Saint’s Ballymena v Tir na Nog

O’ Donovan Rossa v Cardinal O’ Donnell’s

St John’s v St James Aldergrove

Na Gaeil Oga v St Ergnat’s Moneyglass

Kickham’s Ardoyne v Casement’s Portglenone

Division Three

St Mary’s Rasharkin v Laochra Loch Lao

St Teresa’s v Michael Davitt’s

St Patrick’s Lisburn v St Joseph’s Glenavy

Gort na Mona v St Paul’s (b)

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